Tech, lines & rock ’n’ roll: making online courses an engagement extravaganza

When Deano, our resident psychologist (and lead guitarist) said he was thinking of writing a ‘script’ for our new Smart Course, we shrugged and said ‘sure’.

After all, a course needs instructional design, online courses should be structured, instructors shouldn’t ad-lib (unless, like our team member Taz, they’re also comedians), and so on.

Turns out, when Deano said ‘script’, he meant something akin to War & Peace.

Not only could you have used the print version as a lethal weapon, but, after draft one, he then proceeded to write, rewrite, tweak, tinker, and ‘update’ it… for almost 12 months.

Yet there was method to his madness. And it wasn’t just the Course’s baked-in behavioral science.

Because in setting out to teach professionals how to manage their workplace interactions – the Course is called ‘Working with Humans’ – the goal was to tailor every module to each individual learner.

As in, script a different learning path of what a user would see, hear and interact with, depending on their unique, pre-assessed personality type, driven by the algorithm.

online courses

Online Courses meet Hollywood Wonder

This meant no talking heads. No awkward ‘reading’ from a teleprompter. No limp cutaways to stock photo B-roll. No canned sound effects circa Windows XP. Not OUR online course.

For our e-learning approach, this meant rehearsed scenes with hired actors, shot on 4K video at locations all over Cyprus. It mean infinite learning paths with actionable insights, and H.A.C.K.s, to use in common workplace scenarios such as onboarding, managing and retaining talent.

Along the way, we broke the fourth wall Brooklyn Nine-Nine style, packed in jokes and slapstick, and put our goateed trainer extraordinaire Paris through his paces.

Thanks to our in-house visual designer Aleksandar we also amped up the wow factor with green screen, motion graphics magic and deliberate gamification.

Learnability leaves clues…

Were we just a bunch of grown-up kids having a blast in the name of online courses?


But given that we track employer experience and L&D trends like a cartoon bloodhound dogs a 2D villain, we also knew Covid-19 had changed training forever. Edutainment was here to stay.

Which meant that ‘Working with Humans’ needed to be an engagement extravaganza.

Interested to understand why? We did our research.